For those of you who were not previously aware of the situation, there was an issue with fanwanking/anti-Wincest flaming in the original version of this post at wincest, which carried over into the cross-posting supernatural_tv, resulting in multiple bannings at both communities, and lots of headaches for kellan, potthead and me. *sigh*
BUT ENOUGH OF THAT! Back to the actual purpose of the ORIGINAL POST! -.-"
(EDIT: I now have a name for this post! Yeah, late, I know, but it only occurred to me a minute ago when I was del.icio.us-ing it for a friend that it had no title >.>)
Because I am a naturally curious person, being a fan of Wincest made me curious about the actual likelihood/psychological realism of it, so I spent my free periods today doing quite a bit of research on incest (especially sibling incestuous relationships). I found several interesting things.
The Westermarck Effect (the concept that people who live in close proximity during early childhood become sexually desensitized to each other) serves as evidence against the likelihood of Wincest; however, I found the following quote of particular interest:
"However, clinical data indicate that the likelihood that sibling incest will occur is in part a function of the presence of violence, dysfunctional family structure, and difficulties in social interaction. In an earlier study employing a similar method, Bevc (1988) found that 'Respondents with sibling sexual experiences tend to come from a lower socioeconomic class and from crowded conditions; they also change residence more frequently, have fewer friends, and experience greater family discord than respondents without sibling sexual experiences.'" [Source #1]
This would seem to be highly applicable to our boys; possibly enough to override the Westermarck Effect. Additionally, a different article states:
"Nevertheless, it is a fact that incestuous relations between two brothers do take place, and not rarely." [Source #5]
Along this line of thinking, I found a relevant account on an "incest experiences" sharing website from a 36-year-old man, who describes himself as "married and straight except with my brother". (if you click on the link below [Source #4], it's between halfway and two-thirds of the way down the page)
However, a short commentary at the end of one of the above articles says:
"Nevertheless, some of the cases presented in this book provide support for Cory's thesis: that participants in homosexual incest usually think of the activity as homosexual rather than as incestuous; or as homosexual primarily, the incest aspect having only secondary importance." [Source #5]
This doesn't necessarily not apply to Wincest, but it does seem to be contradictory to most fanon.
So...what do you guys think? Anyone else have any thoughts/reactions/things to add? (If there is sufficient interest, I may do more research on this subject...)
SOURCES & USEFUL/INTERESTING LINKS:
#1: Paper by some profs from UCLA
#2: Wikipedia article on the Westermarck Effect
#3: Relevant part of Wikipedia article on incest
#4: Above mentioned "Incest Experience Stories" site
#5: "Homosexual Incest" Article
NEW! Added August '11: froggyfun365 has pointed out a Brazilian movie with incest called "Do Começo ao Fim (From Beginning to End)" (2009). She comments "I have actually used footage from it in some of my wincest vids." It can be seen with English subtitles here: Part 1 | Part 2
Added July '08: mllesatine brought to my attention this interesting and highly relevant article.
[Constructive] Comments on Original Entry:
"Wincest has always made a lot of sense to me from a psychological standpoint and that is exactly why. Two boys raised in motel rooms, with only each other for company, moving around so often that they probably don't really get a chance to even make friends, let alone have girlfriends? The only stable person they can latch onto for any kind of emotional support is each other. Even John admitted that he treated them more like soldiers than sons and the level of responsibility that Deans feels towards Sam is almost unhealthy." --eskimosatan
"This was all very interesting, and pretty much right on. I took a class last year that focused on taboo topics such as incest, and we covered the Westermack Effect during lecture. However, the key thing about that theory was that there are other persons introduced periodically into the child's life. For example, you are not likely to develop a intimate relationship with one of your siblings (whom you live with and spend a lot of your time growing up with) given that you attend school, have friends outside of your home, and meet and are able to build and maintain relationships with new individuals throughout your life (which could develop into romantic relationships).
However, given Sam and Dean's particular situation, those circumstances were not met. We are given to believe that they were raised in hotel rooms and back-water cabins, and even though they attended school (although we have no canonical proof that they weren't at least partially home-schooled at times), it seems as though they never stayed long enough to really build friendships that would last. While I think Dean, being the older of the two and apparently the most sexually adventurous, would have still managed to become involved in casual sex - with the assumption that since he went through puberty before Sam, he would have not experimented with Sam at that time - Sam seems to be more reserved than that. I can even see wee!cest (Sam being between the ages of 14-17) is plausible in those circumstances, when you consider that Sam was going through the height of puberty at that time with a sexually-active older brother and no other outlets (except for his hand) for sexual relief.
Actually, the taboo on incest is kind of interesting to study. In Ancient times, there seemed to be no such taboo; ancient Egyptians often married brother to sister and cousin to cousin. However, as a direct result of that, birth defects and sterility were somewhat common in the royal bloodline. (Obviously, Sam and Dean wouldn't have to worry about that problem.) And in certain cultures, only the male lines matter in terms of family; for example, it would be incest if you married your father's brother's (your uncle's) son (given that you are a female), but it would not be considered incest if you were to marry your mother's brother's son (your first cousin).
And there have been a lot of documented cases of brother/brother incest ... a lot more than sister/sister or parent/child. There's some theories about the lack of attachment males place to sexual relief, especially during adolescence, but it's been a year and I can't remember all of those right now. ;)" --albydarned
"Hey, thank you so much for going and looking this stuff up. A Wincest story I read mentioned the Westermarck effect a few times (Sam, the geekboy that he is, had looked it up and was flailing) but I am fascinated to see the account of what causes exceptions. I knew there must be something like that, because abnormal conditions can throw all kinds of psychological theories out the window. And the Winchesters certainly had some abnormal conditions!
I'm not sure what to think about the primarily homosexual (secondarily incest) thing - you are right, most Wincest fic focuses on the incest aspect and not so much the gay thing. Hmmm." --exsequar
"it would make more sense. they were always traveling, not having many friends and no other close family besides a brother and a father. and the father was pretty much always gone.
they made a movie about a brother/brother incest relationship, but i can't for the LIFE of me remember what it's called. but when i saw it(it was only a short movie, like 20 minutes long) it immediatly thought of Wincest (which, i have NO problem with, by the way!)" --nicenicegirl (EDITOR'S NOTE: The movie referred to is called "Starcrossed", which was also pointed out in the original post by clex_monkie89, who also linked to this.
"I'm going to admit up front that I don't see the point to Wincest, although I'm ambivalent about other people writing it--and given the name of the community, I'm guessing this probably isn't the place to debate the pros and cons. However, what interests me is the paragraphs you have on why there might be an exception to the Westermarck Effect. Totally aside from whether those paragraphs give evidence for the possibility of incest between Sam and Dean, they paint a picture that I'm not convinced applies to the Winchester family.
Violence was a part of their lives, but not in the sense of family violence. We have no reason to believe that John ever beat or otherwise abused them. He did *train* them, which might have at times led to injury, but the psychological impact would have been significantly different. Looking at the effect of, say, martial arts training on your more "normally" raised kid, and looking at Sam and Dean as they are in present times, I'd say that the training caused them to have self-confidence and self-control rather than the anger, fear, and self-loathing that is often the result of an abusive background.
I won't argue the "dysfunctional" part. I personally don't see Dean as quite the daddy figure that a lot of fans do, based on how Sam reacts to him in present times. However, there's no doubt that Dean had a different role from a lot of older brothers, and John himself said that he was more of a drill sergeant than father most of the time. But "difficulties in social interaction"? There's no evidence for this in anything that the show has said that *I* recall, although I'm willing to be proven wrong. The fact that they moved around a lot doesn't automatically make them loners with no friends, and neither does the fact that they have to hide certain facts about their existence. If anything, it has the potential to make them *better* at interacting with others. Many kids who move around a lot make friends (although not necessarily intimate ones) quickly. I've observed this many times in my classroom; "old" students are often quick to ask questions of a "new" kid, and if he/she responds in a friendly and acceptable way, the "new" kid gets pulled into a group before too long. Obviously, we don't know if Sam and Dean were the type to be accepted easily, but Dean's ability to charm and Sam's group of apparently caring friends at Stanford suggest that they're not too socially inept.
As for the lower socioeconomic class--that depends, I guess, on what the authors of the article actually meant. The behaviors and beliefs of a socioeconomic class aren't developed in one generation. A formerly middle class family that's fallen on hard times will be more likely to raise their children with middle class values than with, for want of a better term, poor values (and vice versa). The Winchesters, prior to Mary's death and John's quest for revenge, were at least lower middle class/blue collar, and that type of thinking would have been handed down in John's attitudes and beliefs even after the money ran out. Without knowing what (aside from maybe the crowded conditions) that the authors were thinking of in that comment, it's hard to know if it applies to the Winchesters.
As for the family discord, that's a bit of a question in my mind, too. I can see it happening when, say, the family is so at odds for so long that the bonds of siblingship are shaky. I'm thinking, and this may be fanfic-driven, that the family discord we know about started when Sam was a teenager and started to rebel against his father. In a lot of ways, it ceased to be a front-burner issue once Sam left. I'd be interested to see opinions on how that type of scenario would lead to incest.
All in all, this post makes me want to go back and review all the references to the "early days" of the Winchesters, and maybe even take a careful look at that comic that's coming out (if that can be viewed as canon). I'm not sure if my interpretation of the Winchesters' childhood is more rosy than reality or not, but it would be interesting to find out.
I'm not sure that the last part about sex between brothers being viewed more as a homosexual activity than an incest activity support Wincest. Canonically, both guys are straight.* Nothing in the show has led us to believe that they weren't allowed to date; in fact, I would extrapolate from what we know of their background that they were given a fairly free rein in their social lives as long as they followed basic guidelines such as "don't tell people you spend your weekends hunting monsters" and "make sure your date isn't a harpy in disguise". I would suspect that such conditions would lessen the likelihood of "experimenting" as kids. As adults . . . well, I don't buy it, but that's why fan fiction exists, no? To write about all sorts of different possibilities that don't make it on screen.
*I'm bi-fictional and I've been in fandom a long time. I know all about the "could be bisexual", "just gay for the one you love", "just because we saw them having sex with girls and said they were straight doesn't mean they haven't ever had sex with guys" arguments. Those are great arguments for setting a context for the slight AU that is slash fiction, but not necessarily useful for understanding canon." --kaethe (EDITOR'S NOTE: This *almost* restored my faith in this fandom and made up for the grossly disrespectful anti-Wincesters. ALMOST.)
"Thank you for taking the time to do this research. I found it interesting and informational. It lends credence to those that choose to write wincest.
While I don't personally believe that there is any wincest on the show, I do love the fan fiction. Sam/Dean is such a rich ground for storytelling with their million and a half issues, including the ones you mention above. With Dean's rather disturbing amount of responsibility he feels toward Sam, and the fact that they've only really had each other to connect to over their lifetime (their Dad seemingly rather distant and militaristic), it stands to reason that they may turn to each other in a sexual manner." --ms_erupt
"It's too bad there are some immature people in this fandom who should probably just be better off ignoring this subject if they're going to respond in the way that they do. There's a scroll button for a reason if they're too uncomfortable with the subject. In any case, I think your post offered some interesting info on real relationships like this. While I think this kind of thing wouldn't be a great situation in real life, I think it's more than fine to explore it in fiction especially when the boys do actually fit certain profiles where it's been known to happen in real life. It's not always so cut and dry that some people try to make it." --Anonymous (EDITOR'S NOTE: I love hearing from *actual* anons who aren't trolls. So few of them these days...*sigh*)
EDIT: I apologize to my flist--I posted this late at night, and meant to cut it, but totally spaced 'cause I was tired. Sorry to those who were bothered by this. -.-